As the Coliseum in Rome deteriorates with every passing day, the thoughts of Christian martyrdom and persecution that happened there also seem ages away.
But as surprising as it may sound, it still happens. Instead of Christians being eaten by lions, they are being bombed during protests. Instead of being burned at the stake, their churches are being set on fire.
Coptic Christians in Egypt, the largest contingent of Christians in the country, are under severe attack — so much so that the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom announced just recently that Egypt made the list of “Countries of Particular Concern.”
That's not really a list anyone wants to be on: countries put on this list are some of the worst violators of religious freedom. But it’s not enough. Calling a country out will not necessarily force them to change their behavior. A bully doesn’t work like that.
Leonard Leo, chairman of the Commission, told reporters that the final straw was the massacre on the day Coptic Christians celebrated their Christmas Eve services. Since January of this year, 400 Christians have been murdered, hundreds more injured, and multiple churches have been burned, including a massacre on New Year’s Day, where a bomb at a church in Alexandria killed 20 Christians.
The Coptic Christians have been begging for protection from the new Egyptian government without any results. Last Saturday, while Christians were being attacked with gasoline bombs and rocks in Cairo, riot police did not immediately respond; and when they did respond, they looked on for a full hour and did nothing. Soldiers had to be brought in to contain the violence.
The U.S. has directed its own military to help provide protection and apparently has attempted to put diplomatic pressure on the new government for protection. But more has to be done. The Egyptian government is filled with cowards bent on letting Christians suffer at the hands of the majority religion of Islam.
There are 10 million Coptic Christians in the Middle East, where they are overshadowed predominately by the Muslim culture and Islam, President Obama’s fabled “religion of peace.” In fact, it is the radicals, who call themselves Muslim, who are using rape, violence, and church-burnings to persecute this minority religion of Christianity in Egypt.
Persecution is nothing new for Christians (at Concerned Women for America we recently interviewed some local Coptic Christians for an upcoming event on Sharia Law, and the stories they told were stark). The Coptic Christians in Egypt aren’t backing down, nor are they intimidated, but they do want protection.
When is enough violence enough? Maybe much hasn’t changed since centuries ago when early Christians were persecuted and martyred.
Bottom line: If we don’t work with the new Egyptian government to ask them to protect this minority, we could see significant religious cleansing in Egypt. And if that happens, then shame on us.
Penny Nance is CEO of Concerned Women for America.
Penny Young Nance is president and CEO of Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest women’s public policy organization. She is the author of the book "Feisty and Feminine: A Rallying Cry for Conservative Women" (Zondervan 2016).